Cooper building in Aspen to get new addition

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

Aspen City Council opted Monday to allow a lower committee’s approval of a downtown development to proceed.

The demolition project, unanimously approved Jan. 27 by the Historic Preservation Commission, calls for the construction of a one-floor commercial structure on the south side of the building at 529 through 535 E. Cooper Ave. The existing structure, which is part of the city’s historic inventory, is more commonly known as the Stein Building. The two-story mixed-use building was built in 1888, and Aspen visionary Fritz Benedict remodeled a portion of it in 1953.

The council’s main concern about the one-story addition was the public amenity that’s required with the project. The building’s owner, NJ Stein LLC, has agreed to make a cash-in-lien payment to offset some of the public amenity requirement, along with landscaping around the new addition.

The Historic Preservation

Commission signed off on the owner’s public-amenities commitment because the on-site requirement “would be inappropriate for the scope and location of the project,” according to a memo to the City Council.

Mayor Steve Skadron noted that the public-amenities portion of the city land-use code should be enforced, but he was willing to go with his fellow council members and not call up the project for further review.